06/15/2012 2:24PM

Lone Star: Jimmy Dodwell follows in dad's footsteps at Diamond D


Rachel Alexandra tops of the list of horses Jimmy Dodwell has developed in his role as farm trainer for Diamond D Ranch in Lone Oak, Texas. But recent Lone Star Park maiden winner Greybill also ranks high on Dodwell’s list of favorites.

Greybill gave Dodwell his first official win as a trainer on May 24, when he rolled by six lengths in a maiden special weight. The horse was Dodwell’s fifth starter, and on Thursday night he collected another win with his sixth starter, I’m Denny Crane, a 2-year-old who could be headed to Del Mar.

Dodwell is the 48-year-old son of Ed Dodwell, who in 1981 opened Diamond D with his wife, Caroline. The farm specializes in developing yearlings and 2-year-olds for the track, with Rachel Alexandra, the 2009 Horse of the Year, the biggest success story from an operation that has given early training to 194 stakes winners. Jimmy Dodwell joined Diamond D in 1988. His father, now 72, retired following a 2004 heart attack and Jimmy has since been responsible for the farm’s management and training, with assistance from his stepmother, Caroline, and advice from Ed.

“He’s better than me,” said Ed Dodwell, a longtime trainer. “He just absolutely studies the horses. He’s got a superior eye for a horse, and that doesn’t come with everybody.”

“What I’ve learned in this business, I’ve learned from him,” Jimmy Dodwell said of his father.

Diamond D develops about 100 young horses each season, and this fall the crop will include a yearling full sister to Rachel Alexandra. Jimmy Dodwell will oversee the proceedings and will continue to race on a limited basis. He has about five horses to ship from Diamond D for races at Lone Star, Louisiana Downs, Remington, Sam Houston, and Retama.

“This is kind of to get my name out there,” Dodwell said. “It kind of helps business, I hope. We’re not trying to run a lot of horses. It’s for clients who don’t really have horses with a specific trainer. It’s to try to get them going.”

I’m Denny Crane is a California-bred and graduate of the Barrett’s fall yearling sale of October 2011 and Dodwell said owner Frank Haverkamp is looking at sending the horse to a trainer at Del Mar to take advantage of restricted opportunities. I’m Denny Crane went through the program at Diamond D, and as a 2-year-old debut winner represents what figures to become one of the strongest training categories for Dodwell.

“I like our chances with 2-year-olds,” he said. “With our facilities, I feel we get them very ready to run. There’s not much else to do with them when we send them to [trainers at] the tracks. They’re ready to go.”